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For other places with the same name, see Louisville (disambiguation).
Louisville is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.

Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, with about one and a quarter million people living in the metro area. Louisville is also the namesake of the Official Bat of Major League Baseball - the Louisville Slugger.

There are many correct pronunciations of "Louisville," from LOOey-vil to LOOuh-vuhl to LU-vul, but pronouncing it like "Lewisville" is generally considered incorrect.


A major city located on the Ohio River in North Central Kentucky across from Southern Indiana, Louisville exists at the confluence of Southern and Midwestern attitudes and cultures. Known historically as the 'Gateway to the South', Louisville has long been a transportation center for the region. Other local nicknames include 'River City' and 'Derby City', in addition to the myriad of ways the name can be pronounced, depending on one's accent. More or less any pronunciation is acceptable except 'Lewis', an error which will not offend anyone but definitely marks one as an out-of-towner. While it only borders on the region, tourists will probably find a bit of the famous Southern hospitality here, along with its varied cuisine and a relaxed attitude toward life. The city also boasts a vibrant arts and music scene and a world-class municipal parks system.

Louisville's biggest draw are the horse races at Churchill Downs (with the famous Kentucky Derby always the first Saturday in May), but the city is making a concerted effort to draw tourists year round. The architecture in Old Louisville and the Highlands is one-of-a-kind, and the people are very friendly.

The Downtown, Old Louisville, Highlands, and Frankfort Avenue areas are walkable and it is possible to take the city bus between one or all four without much difficulty, with a downtown hotel as base. Outside of this part of town though, you will almost certainly need a car.

Aside from Downtown, a must-see for many is the Highlands shopping district, on Bardstown Road roughly from Broadway to the Douglass Loop. Often described as "bohemian", it includes art galleries, bars, coffeehouses, midrange to upscale restaurants, and is ideally navigated by foot or bike. The street life here is particularly active on weekends when the weather is warm.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Louisville International Airport (IATA: SDF) [17] is served by all the major American airlines though it is only a spoke for most. The one terminal holds two concourses. Concourse A holds all the Skyteam (Delta and United Airlines) carriers (which dominate SDF as far as passengers carried) plus American Airlines (which moved from concourse B to the old TWA gates) and Frontier Airlines, while Concourse B holds United Airlines, US Airways, and Southwest Airlines. Allegiant Air also flys from SDF. The terminal is small and easy to navigate.

With all of the airlines listed above, direct flights are available to most of their hubs, including Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, and popular tourist destinations such as Orlando and Las Vegas. The airport is "International" in name only — there are no longer any nonstop passenger flights to any location outside the U.S. Too bad you can't fly with UPS whose huge all-points international "worldport" is in Louisville just south of the passenger terminal.

By car[edit]

Several Interstates pass through Louisville: I-65, I-64 and I-71.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound, +1 800-231-2222, [18] services Louisville. Their depot is located at 720 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. near the center of town. Service is frequent, but it is inadvisable to arrive at the bus station late at night unless someone is coming to pick you up or you are taking a taxi. Note that there are many pickpockets and scammers here and nearby.
  •, 1-877-462-6342, [1]. Express bus service to/from Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1.  edit

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Louisville's public transit service, TARC [19], operates bus lines in all parts of Louisville Metro (Jefferson County). Fares are $1.50 for adults (75 cents for children between 6 and 17) with a possibility for two transfers in two hours. Tickets can be purchased at some banks and government offices but this will not really save you much money unless you are going to be staying in the city and getting around by bus for at least two weeks. Buses generally run from about 6AM-10PM, some later on weekends, but it is a good idea to check the schedule for each specific route. Timetables are only posted at major stops, but (502) 585-1234 or provide reasonably useful scheduling and routing help. The buses are also rather impractical in the suburbs, as they are infrequent and the stops are far apart.

By car[edit]

Car rental services are available at the airport. Louisville is encircled by two beltways, I-264 (officially the Henry Watterson Expressway and locally known as "the Watterson") and I-265 (the Gene Snyder Freeway, or unofficially "the Snyder"). Traffic is generally moderate except at peak hours on I-264 and in downtown. In particular, try to avoid "Spaghetti Junction", the downtown freeway interchange, between four-thirty and seven on weekdays.

The city streets are laid out in a grid pattern in downtown and a wheel-and-spoke system farther out. Frequently, the streets are named after outlying towns they eventually reach (Shelbyville Road, Bardstown Road, Taylorsville Road, etc.) Some of the urban neighborhoods, notably Germantown, Portland, and the neighborhoods surrounding Cherokee Park, can be confusing for non-locals. Fortunately most neighborhoods are quite safe and passers-by will be more than happy to give you directions.

Louisvillians generally do not honk their horns unless there is real danger imminent. If this is not the case it is liable to be viewed as aggressive behavior.

By bike[edit]

Bicycling is becoming an increasingly effective way to get around Louisville. Although Louisville's bike program [20] is in its infancy (born at the 2005 Louisville Bike Summit), developments are occuring rapidly, and there are significant improvements on the immediate horizon. In fact, former long-time mayor and current Kentucky lieutenant governor Jerry Abramson is an active cyclist. Bike lanes are being added on city streets, especially in and around Downtown which is already the most bike-friendly area of the city.

Every TARC bus in the city is equipped with bike racks, making bicycling a viable option for long-distance trips and trips along major arterial corridors. If you plan your transit route in advance, it is easy to get anywhere in the city using just your bicycle and public transit. Metro Government is also installing more bike racks every day, making it easy to park your bike at your destination.

See[edit][add listing]


Louisville's park system was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the "Father of American Landscape Architecture." Many consider it to be his greatest achievement. Cherokee Park, Iroquois Park, and Shawnee Park are the Flagship Parks, while more than a dozen smaller parks make up Louisville's own "Emerald Necklace." Cherokee Park features a 2.3 mi (3.7 km) 'Scenic Loop' with one lane of traffic reserved entirely for cyclists, pedestrians, and other recreational activities. Iroquois Park contains what was the tallest hill in Louisville before the city merged with surrounding Jefferson County in 2003; the hill's location gives it a commanding view of downtown, especially on clear days. In addition to the major parks, dozens of smaller ones are spread throughout the city, such as Tyler Park in the Highlands, a favorite of locals, or George Rogers Clark Park in Germantown.

A newer addition, Waterfront Park, is arguably one of the greatest things the city has done to improve its image in a decade. Stretching along over a mile of the Ohio River, Waterfront Park offers playgrounds, artistic landscaping, fountains, and open lawns, all with spectacular views of the city skyline and the river. It frequently plays host to concerts and other festivals. The third phase of the park's construction, the Big Four Bridge, is the recently completed pedestrian and bicycle bridge connecting the Waterfront park to downtown Jeffersonville across the river. It is extremely popular when the weather is good, and a small community of shops and restaurants has sprung up on the Indiana side to receive the traffic.

Enjoy the view (day or night) of downtown Louisville from Ashland Park, on the Ohio River in neighboring Clarksville, IN. Park the car and walk across the street to Widow's Walk, an ice-cream parlor/garden statue shop constructed to look like an old Victorian mansion. Nearby is also the Falls of the Ohio, a state park containing a fossil bed that spans quite a bit of area when the river is low.


Old Louisville is an architectural treasure trove. Just south of downtown, it is the third largest National Preservation District in the country and the largest Victorian district in the United States. A particularly beautiful area is St. James Court and Belgravia Court, which plays host each fall to the St James Court Art Show. Faced with possible demolition in the 1970's, the area is now considered to be one of Louisville's best-kept secrets. A good way to see the neighborhood is to follow a walking tour [21]. It also has a number of locally-beloved bars and restaurants, and a heterogeneous population that gives the neighborhood a particularly eclectic feel.

Main and Market streets downtown contain the second largest collection of 1800's era iron facade buildings in the United States. Some have been torn down or otherwise destroyed, but also many new developments leave the old facades intact.

Other notable areas include the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood in the Highlands and Butchertown, which is just east of Downtown.


The world's largest bat!

Market Street has a number of art galleries. If you are in Louisville on the first Friday of the month, there is a free gallery hop [22] around the downtown galleries, including a couple of glass studios. The Speed Art Museum [23] is a more traditional art museum on the campus of the University of Louisville, but is now closed for a complete rebuilding and will not reopen until sometime in 2016. 21C Museum Hotel [24] has several art installations open to the public and is, like all hotels, is open to the public 24 hours a day. There are also a variety of art galleries within walking distance of each other in the Highlands/Bardstown Road area.

For performing arts, there is Actors Theatre [25], The Louisville Orchestra [26], The Louisville Ballet [27], The Kentucky Opera [28], and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts [29].

  • Louisville Slugger Museum, (on Main street in downtown), [30].
  • Louisville Science Center, (on Main street in downtown), [31].
  • Frazier Historical Arms Museum, (on Main street in downtown), [32].
  • Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, (on Main street in downtown), [33].
  • Kentucky Derby Museum, (south of downtown next to Churchill Downs), [34].
  • Churchill Downs, [35].
  • Muhammad Ali Center, [36].

If you have a car, definitely take River Road out of downtown, past Zorn Avenue into the River Road Historic District. Beautiful country estates on the bluffs overlooking the Ohio River are amazing to see, along with all the fields that stretch along the river and great vistas of all the boats going by. The district stops when River Road ends at US Highway 42.

Kentucky Derby Festival[edit]

One of the nation's biggest civic events, the Kentucky Derby Festival [37] takes place for the two weeks prior to the first Saturday in May when the Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs. (The festival was rebranded as "Derby Festival" in 2011 because of a dispute with Churchill Downs, which owns the "Kentucky Derby" trademark. The dispute was settled in time for the 2012 festival.) The biggest events include the following:

  • Thunder Over Louisville – Quite possibly the world's largest air show and fireworks display. Thunder draws as many as 800,000 people to the banks of the Ohio river for a day long event filled with food, music, skydivers and many types of aircraft (including military). The evening is topped off with the world's largest fireworks display set to music, usually lasting 30 minutes. Thunder is held on the Saturday two weeks before Derby (sometimes three weeks, depending on when the Easter holiday is observed so as not to interfere with it).
  • The Great Balloon Race – It is held the Saturday before Derby, unless bad weather takes place, then it will be the next day. If bad weather takes place that day, the race is canceled if inclement weather conditions warrant. The start of the Balloon Race moved from the Kentucky Exposition Center to Bowman Field in 2011. Regardless of the starting point, the race ends a few miles away in whatever direction the wind is blowing and carrying the balloons. On the Friday night before the race, the balloons are inflated for the Balloon Glow, a very pretty sight at night. The latter event moved to the riverfront in 2012.
  • The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and MiniMarathon [38] – Both races are held on Saturday morning one week before the Derby, usually at the same time as the balloon race. Since the 2011 edition, both start and finish in downtown Louisville. The two races follow the same route to the west side, back to downtown, and through Old Louisville and the University of Louisville campus to Churchill Downs, where they take a trip around the track in the infield before splitting after exiting the racetrack. The MiniMarathon (in fact a half-marathon) returns directly to downtown. The Marathon heads toward Iroquois Park in the south end, takes a loop around that park, and returns to downtown after taking a detour into the Highlands.
  • The Great Steamboat Race – Held on Wednesday afternoon before Derby, the race historically matched the Belle of Louisville [39] against the Delta Queen [40] for a race up the Ohio River and back again, ending downtown at the Clark Memorial Bridge. When the Delta Queen, a traditional steamboat, was retired and replaced in 2009 by the diesel-powered Belle of Cincinnati [41], the competition format was changed. The crews of both boats now contest a skills competition for points before the race, and the race itself is handicapped by forcing the more powerful Belle of Cincinnati to travel farther than the Belle of Louisville. Under both traditional and modern formats, a third boat has occasionally been involved in the competition. The winner, now based on points earned both before and during the race, is awarded the Silver Antlers (the replacement for the Golden Antlers, retired when the Delta Queen was retired) for another year until the next race.
  • Pegasus Parade – Held for several blocks along Broadway (on the south end of downtown), the parade is the scene for floats, marching bands, celebrities, and many others groups. The parade is held on Thursday before Derby.
  • Kentucky Oaks – One of the most important races for 3-year-old fillies (females), the Oaks is always held the day before the Kentucky Derby. Like the Derby, it is the last race of a full day of racing, and features much of the same pageantry, but on a smaller scale.
  • Kentucky Derby – Often described as "the most exciting two minutes in sports," the first race of the Triple Crown is cause for a full day of celebrating, eating, and drinking. There is a full day of races on Derby Day, of which the Kentucky Derby is the last. Everything about the "Run for the Roses" (named for the blanket of roses draped over the winner) is steeped in tradition, from the food (Derby Pie) to the drinks (mint juleps, traditionally served in a pewter cup) to the clothes (designer hats for women, and two- and three-piece summer suits for men). TV stations will have several hours of pre-race coverage as well as the post-race interview with a teary-eyed jockey. Although you can certainly attend in person, either in the stadium seats or the cheaper and boozier infield, it's probably more common to find one of the countless Derby parties, hosted by a bar or maybe just at a friend's house.

St. James Court Art Show[edit]

A free event, the St. James Court Art Show [42] has been running strong for more than 50 years. This is the 5th largest Art Show in the United States. The show hosts an impressive 650 plus artists from all over the Americas. The outdoor Art Show is open during the daylight hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the weekend of the first Saturday in October. Held in the heart of historic Old Louisville among the country's largest collection of Victorian homes. An easy drive or bus ride about 1 mile due south of downtown Louisville near Central Park. The heart of the fair is the fountain on St James Court and the lovely Belgravia Court [43] where the artists have to compete for attention among the historic mansions that line the street under towering oaks. Tip: this is a beautiful neighborhood to explore even if it not an Art Show weekend.


  • Louisville Bats [44], The Louisville Bats are the AAA minor league baseball team affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Bats are currently members of the West Division of the International League. They play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field located at 401 E Main St, +1 502 212-2287.
  • Louisville City FC [45] - Louisville City FC is a tier two soccer club affiliated with the Eastern Conference of the United Soccer League. They currently play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field located at 401 E Main St, +1 502 384-8799.
  • Louisville Cardinals [46] — The city's most visible sports teams are those representing the University of Louisville, members of the American Athletic Conference before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference in July 2014. The men's basketball team, a perennial contender for conference and national honors, is extremely popular; tickets for high-profile games are difficult to impossible to come by. Most of the school's athletic venues are on the main campus about 4 mi (6 km) from downtown near I-65, with the best-known being the football team's home, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. However, the men's and women's basketball teams do not play on campus—they now play at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. Ticket information: +1 502 852-5151 or +1 800-633-7105.

Do[edit][add listing]

Recreational biking[edit]

If you want to bike for recreation, consider biking "the parkways" to the three major parks (Eastern Parkway to Cherokee Park, Southern Parkway to Iroquois Park, and Algonquin/Northwestern/Southwestern Parkway to Shawnee Park). These were originally designed just for bikers (and other "pleasure craft"), although now, especially Eastern, will require urban cycling skills except perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday. But they still represent the absolute finest the city has to offer in terms of biking - the three parks are magnificent, all have dedicated biking lanes (as in, you get half of or all of the road). Probably about 25-35 miles to see all three, if you're in good shape this can make for the perfect day ride around town, with frequent stops since there's a lot to see. There are minor hills on the parkways, but some moderate hills in Iroquois and Cherokee parks.

A good starting place is Waterfront Park, which has free parking, and also gives you a chance to experience downtown and all three "sides" of Louisville. Beginning at the Waterfront, you can take the Riverwalk to Shawnee Park (in the process of being renovated with a Scenic Loop bike path similar to that in Cherokee Park), and - by the end of 2007 - connect via Southwestern and Algonquin Parkways to the Ohio River Levee Trail to the Farnsley-Moreman Landing in the southwest corner of the county; almost a 20 mile ride.

You can also go from the Waterfront along the Beargrass Creek Trail to Cherokee Park (see a Louisville bikeways map [47] for details). In the next five to seven years, you will be able to bike all the way from Prospect, in the northeast part of the county, to Farnsley-Moreman in the southwest - over 25 miles. By 2015, you'll be able to bike a full hundred miles around the entire city.

You can rent bikes at Waterfront Park.

Extreme sports[edit]

Younger or more adventurous types who are into skateboarding, aggressive skating, or BMX may want to check out Louisville Extreme Park, located on the corner of Franklin and Clay Streets just east of I-65 downtown and open 24/7. Among its features are a 24-foot full pipe, seven bowls of different sizes, a street course, ledges and rails, and a 12-foot vert ramp with a 13-foot extension. [48].


Louisville has a large and thriving music scene catering to every possible taste in music. Each September brings three multi-day music festivals to the Kentucky Exposition Center.

  • Homwtown Rising, [49]
  • Bourbon And Beyond, [50]
  • Louder Than Life, [51]

There are many bars that feature standard-issue cover bands but of greater interest to adventurous visitors are the venues featuring original local music as well as big-name out-of-town acts.

  • Headliners, [52] 1386 Lexington Road. Attracts medium-size national acts and top-drawing local acts.


  • University of Louisville, [53]
  • Indiana University Southeast, [54]
  • Bellarmine University, [55]
  • Spalding University, [56]
  • Sullivan University, [57]
  • Jefferson Community College, [58]
  • McKendree College, [59]
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, [60]
  • Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, [61]


Buy[edit][add listing]

Support Louisville's impressive number of locally-owned businesses by shopping in areas like the Highlands (Bardstown Road), Clifton/Frankfort Avenue, and Nulu (East Market Street). Shops displaying 'Keep Louisville Weird' signs (a concept originally developed in Austin, Texas) are members of a coalition of locally-owned businesses.

There are several malls and shopping areas in which to browse, including:

  • Oxmoor Center [62] and Mall St. Matthews [63], Shelbyville Rd at I-264. Oxmoor Center is immediately east of 264 (outside the loop) and Mall St. Matthews is immediately west of 264 (inside the loop).
  • Jefferson Mall, Outer Loop and Jefferson Blvd, [64].
  • Paddock Shops, Brownsboro Rd. at I-265. Renamed from "The Summit" in August 2013; many locals still use the old name. [65].
  • Springhurst Towne Center, Westport Rd. at I-265
  • Dixie Manor, Dixie Hwy near Lower Hunters Trace Rd.
  • Shelbyville Road Plaza, Shelbyville Rd. west of I-264 and Mall St. Matthews.
  • Stonybrook, Hurstbourne Pkwy & Taylorsville Rd.

The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in the suburb of Simpsonville, KY Green Tree Mall in the suburb of Clarksville, IN Westport Village

Groceries and other basics[edit]

The overwhelmingly dominant supermarket chain is Kroger, with nearly 35 locations in Jefferson County alone and still more in the surrounding counties (a few Kroger-owned stores on the Indiana side of the river operate under the JayC legacy nameplate). Most Kroger locations are open 24 hours. The no-frills chains Aldi and Save-a-Lot have a presence (mostly in poorer neighborhoods), and the local chain Valu Market has several stores, generally in nicer areas.

Kroger's real competition comes from discount-store chains Walmart, Meijer, and Target. In Jefferson County, Walmart has 10 Supercenters (discount store plus full supermarket), plus five Walmart Markets (supermarket only); all but one are open 24/7. Meijer, a regional hypermarket chain based in Michigan, has four Jefferson County locations and two in Indiana, all open 24/7. Of Target's nine area locations (seven in Jefferson County and two in Indiana), eight now have comprehensive grocery sections, though without the specialized counters of a true supermarket; also, Targets generally do not stay open 24/7.

All three major national pharmacy chains—Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid—have many stores in the area. Pharmacies can also be found at all area Walmart, Meijer, Target, and Kmart stores, plus nearly all local Krogers. Note, however, that only select outlets of the major national pharmacy chains stay open 24/7. All pharmacies at discount stores and supermarkets close overnight, even if the main store remains open. However, this is only an issue if you need to fill a prescription or purchase a decongestant containing pseudoephedrine (sales of the latter must be recorded by pharmacists because such drugs can also be used to illegally make the highly addictive drug methamphetamine). Other items sold in the pharmacy can be purchased at any checkout.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Local specialties include the Hot Brown [66], a broiled open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and mornay sauce, and Derby pie [67], which is similar to a pecan pie but incorporates chocolate.

Locals usually prefer to dine at one of the local eating establishments below.


  • Spinelli's, 614 Baxter Ave. and three other Louisville locations [68]. Late night (until 5AM every day at all locations) Philly pizza. A luxury car is installed indoors at the Baxter Avenue location for seating.
  • J. Gumbo's, 2109 Frankfort Ave. and five other Louisville locations [69]. A regional chain that began in Louisville. Excellent Cajun food. Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etoufee, Creole, etc. Try the drunk chicken, it's excellent. All meals $6.
  • WW Cousins, Breckenridge Ln & Dupont Cir. [70] Dress your own hamburger and salad bar.
  • Twig & Leaf, Corner of Bardstown Rd and Douglass Blvd. Classic American diner and a local tradition.
  • Chop Shop Salad, 436 W Market St (Downtown). Choose your own salad ingredients or choose from suggested options. Quick healthy eating option. Only open 11AM-3PM, though. [71]
  • Check's Cafe, Corner of Burnett Ave and Hickory in Germantown. Same as above, can't beat the price. The decor features a lot of local sports memorabilia. Doubles as a bar.
  • Cafe 360, Corner of Bardstown Rd and Bonnycastle Ave. Order anything you want, 24-hours. Also has a bar. Food is okay but it's really more of a social place to go. Great Hookah.
  • Shah's Mongolian Grill 423 E Warnock St. (near U of L). Choose-your-own-stir-fry. Huge bowls of food for about $7-9. Mostly a student hangout, especially in the evenings. Hookah also available.
  • Juanita's Burger Boy Diner 1450 S. Brook St. (Old Louisville) [72] Located a few blocks away from the Magnolia Bar and Grill (see below) and across from Woody's, this diner is open 24/7, has decent food, and is probably the cheapest place in town. Cash only—an ATM is available in the restaurant, though surcharges may apply.


  • Saffron's Persian Restaurant, 131 W. Market St. [73].
  • Ramsi's Cafe on the World, 1293 Bardstown Rd. A local favorite with a very eclectic menu.
  • Shalimar Indian Restaurant, 1820 S Hurstbourne Pkwy. Authentic Indian
  • The Irish Rover, 2319 Frankfort Ave, [74].
  • The Granville, 1601 S 3rd St. Considered by many to be the best burgers in town.
  • Marketplace Restaurant, 651 S 4th St. [75].
  • NULU/ East Market District has an increasing number of recommended, upscale, and original restaurants


  • Le Relais, 2817 Taylorsville Rd, [76]. Fine French food.
  • Asiatique, 1767 Bardstown Rd, [77]. French/Asian Fusion.
  • Volare Italtian Restaurant, 2300 Frankfort Ave, [78]. Authentic Italian Cuisine

Drink[edit][add listing]

Mint juleps are a local drink, traditionally drunk during the Kentucky Derby. If you want to try this classic Southern drink outside of Derby week, it's difficult to find a bar that can make them, owing to the difficulty of stocking fresh mint and the fact that they aren't often ordered. One spot that does offer them year-round is Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge [79] (Fourth Street Live!); they sell for $9 as of November 2011.

If you're the voyeur type, a Tom Waits fan, unexposed and looking for some culture shock, or just want to connect with some real locals, you might check out the forty or so hole-in-the-wall bars scattered throughout Smoketown, Germantown, Shelby Park, and Downtown. These places can range from extremely seedy (could get accosted) to the utterly laidback (ability to enjoy your malt 40 with cheap soulfood and the occasional mishmash, smattering of "local color" jabber-banter). Not for the faint of heart.

Smoking is not permitted in bars in the city of Louisville.

  • Lilly's Bistro, 1147 Bardstown Rd.. Fine American Cuisine  edit
  • The Silver Dollar, 1761 Frankfort Ave, 502-259-9540, [2]. M-Su 5PM-2AM. Kitchen Closes at 12 am, Bar open until 2 am  edit


There are many pubs around the city, with varying styles, prices and crowds. The Highlands, especially around the 900 block of Baxter Ave., is a great place to drink and meet new people.

  • Cahoots, 1047 Bardstown Rd, +1 502 454-6687. M-F 5PM-4AM, Sa Su 1PM-4AM. Beer, pub grub and a younger crowd.  edit
  • Dublin's Cellar, 942 Baxter Ave, +1 502 583-2969, [3]. M-F 4PM-4AM, Sa Su noon-4AM. Irish Pub that has 68 beers on tap. Bar on one side and dance floor/club on the other.  edit
  • Highlands Taproom, 1058 Bardstown Rd, +1 502 584-5222, [4]. Neighborhood pub with live music on one side, karaoke on the other.  edit
  • Molly Malone's, 933 Baxter Ave, +1 502 473-1222, [5]. 11AM-4AM daily. Irish-style staples with a decent beer selection and a good patio.  edit
  • Nachbar, 969 Charles St (Germantown), +1 502 637-4377. M-Sa 2PM-4AM, Su 4PM-4AM. Large beer selection with a focus on German and Belgian style beers. Also features jazz and film occasionally.  edit
  • Outlook Inn, 916 Baxter Ave, +1 502 583-4661. 2PM-4AM. A more dive-ish feel but with a no less impressive beer list.  edit
  • The Baxter Station Bar & Grill, 1201 Payne St (Irish Hill at Payne St), +1 502 584-1635, [6]. Old neighborhood tavern with a mix of international and regional dishes and plenty of beers on tap.  edit
  • The Magnolia Bar & Grill (The Mag), 1398 S Second St, +1 502 637-9052. Considered the quintessential Louisville dive bar. Don't let the name confuse you, there is no food to be had here.  edit
  • The Rudyard Kipling, 422 West Oak St, [7]. F Sa, after 6:30PM. Kentucky-style cuisine with live music and theater.  edit
  • HillTop Tavern, 1800 Frankfort Ave. T-Su, 5PM-4AM. One of the best and least known bars in the city. Kitchen open till 3AM.  edit
  • Meta. Prohibition era bar that ended up being a camera shop and then a strip club before the current owner concerted into a stylish bar that remembers it's history. Check out the "family tree" of drinks that are available.  edit


  • Apocalypse Brew Works, 1612 Mellwood Ave, 502 589-4843, [8]. 5PM-11PM F, 4:30PM-11PM Sa, closed Su-Th. A start up microbrewery. Serves beer but no food. Live music some nights. Food trucks some nights. 1612 Mellwood Ave (502 589-4843.)  edit
  • Bluegrass Brewing Company, 660 S 4th Street (4th & Broadway, at Theater Square), 502 568-2224, [9]. 11AM-10PM M-Th, 11AM-11PM F-Sa, closed Su. Local microbrewery with four locations around town. Live music some nights. Locations with food offer Louisville classics like the hot brown and derby pie. The original location is in St. Matthews at 3929 Shelbyville Road (phone: 502 899-7070), 660 South Fourth street downtown, and the corner of Third and Main. Also the Taproom, 636 E Main St; serves beer but no food. (502-584-2739.) Happy hour 3PM-7PM, pints $3.50.  edit
  • Against the Grain, 401 E. Main St, 502 515-0174, [10]. 11AM-10PM M-Th, 11AM-12PM F-Sa, 12PM-9:30PM Su. Restaurant and bar that is connected to Louisville Slugger Field (home to the Louisville Bats AAA baseball team, affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds). Restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays.  edit
  • Cumberland Brews, 1576 Bardstown Road, 502 458-8727. Small pub that brews their own beer. The Pale Ale is recommended by reviewers.  edit
  • The New Albanian Brewing Company (Rich-O's), 3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany, 812 949-2804, [11]. Pizzeria and pub.  edit


Fourth Street Live! [80] (On 4th St, downtown) has plenty of bars, ranging from an English Pub to Maker's Mark own lounge and bar, but you'll pay a premium to drink there. Fourth Street is generally only busy on the weekends; it's dead on the weekdays except for 5-7PM or when the after work crowd grabs a drink. Be aware many of the swankier clubs and bars (Red Cheetah, Maker's Mark, etc.) have a dress code, and some have a cover charge, usually about $5. Fourth Street is free to enter.

  • Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, 446 S Fourth St, +1 502-568-9009, [12]. M-Th 11AM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-4AM, Su 5PM-midnight. Upscale bar with bourbons from each of Kentucky's distilleries.  edit
  • Garage Bar, 700 E Market St, +1 502-749-7100, [13]. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Su 11AM-10PM. Old car garage repurposed into a casual bar with beer, bourbon, wine, and wood-fired pizzas.  edit


There are a plethora of good coffeehouses in Louisville. Local chains include Heine Brothers' Coffee & Java Brewing Company [81]. There are three Heine stores in the Highlands area alone, with six more scattered around town. Java has a Fourth Street Live location, a Main St branch, and a store in Crescent Hill where it was founded. (Others are on the east reaches of town, i.e. Middletown, etc.) Vint [82] (four locations) merged with Heine Brothers in 2011, but remains a separate chain, and sources its coffee separately from its sister chain. Other selections include Highland Coffee at 1140 Bardstown Rd/627 S 4th St, Old Louisville Coffee House at 1489 S 4th St, Sunergos Coffee [83] on 2122 S Preston St, Ntaba Coffee Haus [84] on 2407 Brownsboro Rd and Ray's Monkey House [85] at 1578 Bardstown Rd.

There is a chocolatery called Coco's Chocolate Café. It is located at 1759 Bardstown Rd. in the heart of the Highlands. Coco's Chocolate Café serves handmade ice creams, artisan chocolates, drinking chocolate, chocolate fondue, and other chocolate desserts in a comfy, relaxing café setting. Check out Coco's Chocolate Cafe[86] for menu items and directions. Or, call them at 502-454-9810.


Louisville has a substantial gay, lesbian and transgender communities, most visibly concentrated in The Highlands neighborhood, in the East End and Downtown. There are numerous venues and events catering to them and those friendly to them.

While not necessarily known for its exceptional coffee, Day's Coffee [87] on Bardstown Road has enjoyed a loyal following among Louisville's gay AND family oriented populations for years, thanks to it's very laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere.

The Connection [88], located downtown, is Louisville's premier gay club and has an enormous dance floor and showroom. Worth the cover on weekends or special events for those who enjoy a good drag show. Claims to have the best drag show in the United States.

Tryangles is a Louisville gay standby that endears by possessing the contradictory qualities of both homeyness and sleaze in equal measure. Popular with the bear and levi/leather crowd.

Teddy Bears has been victims of some scary hype, though for those not afraid of men and trans people "of a certain age" or beyond, it can be great places to relax over a game of pool or unselfconscious karaoke.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Keep in mind that most Louisville hotels around Derby weekend will usually charge three times the normal rate. The only way to avoid this is to stay with friends and family or to stay at hotels at least 100 miles away, such as Cincinnati or Indianapolis.


  • Motel 6 Louisville Airport
  • Microtel Inn Louisville (East).
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel East, [89].


  • InnPlace Louisville, 9700 Bluegrass Pkwy, 502-491-4830, [14]. The InnPlace Hotel and Conference Center provides small-town friendliness in the dynamic city of Louisville. Combining outstanding service, comfortable guest and meeting rooms, and a convenient location, the InnPlace strives to be your destination for business travel or vacation. Located in the heart of Louisville’s east end, it’s minutes from diverse dining, shopping, and entertainment. The InnPlace is twelve miles from the downtown city center and Louisville International Airport. Close proximity to Interstate 64 makes getting to attractions such as Churchill Downs, the Belle of Louisville, and Horseshoe Casino quick and easy.  edit
  • Comfort Suites ( 20 Miles from Louisville) '
  • Four Points Louisville Airport [90]
  • Hyatt Place Louisville/East
  • Ramada Downtown North Louisville, 1041 Zorn Avenue,-71 Exit #2 and Zorn Ave, Louisville, Kentucky 40207 +1 502-897-5101,
  • Ramada Limited & Suites Airport/Fair/Expo Center - Louisville, 2912 Crittenden Dr, I-264 Exit 11, Louisville, KY 40209 +1 502-637-6336,
  • Courtyard Louisville East, 9608 Blairwood Road Louisville, Kentucky 40222 +1 502-429-0006


There are five great downtown hotels. They are:

  • The 21c Museum Hotel, 700 West Main Street, 502-217-6300, 877-217-6400 toll free.
  • The Seelbach Hilton Hotel. Historic and very luxurious. Similar to Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
  • The Brown Hotel One of the most historical hotels of the city and the country. Not only it is an excellent hotel, but it is full of history and fun stories. For example, during a flood in 1937, Brown Hotel was partially submerged, and a worker caught a two-pound fish in the lobby.
  • Galt House Hotel & Suites, 140 North Fourth St.
  • Hyatt Regency Louisville, 320 West Jefferson. Located downtown connected to Kentucky International Convention Center and 4th Street Live.  edit

There are many other hotels around town and in downtown, but they are rather generic. If you're going to pay more for a hotel, you might as well get character as well. There are also some Bed and Breakfasts in Old Louisville, if you'd like to stay in a 120+ year old Victorian mansion, here's your chance.

Stay safe[edit]

Most of Louisville is pretty safe (for a city its size, it has never been featured on the TV show "Cops"). Probably the least safe areas are west of Ninth Street (the Greyhound bus station is unfortunately located here). Professional scammers acting as panhandlers are common at the station, and while not terribly aggressive or rude, they are persistent. Pickpockets are also a problem, as they will often snatch belongings from the side pockets of any bags or purses you may have

In addition, several attempted muggings have occurred directly outside of the terminal, (with station security being shockingly apathetic and unhelpful in these situations, at least until the Metro Police arrive) so be very cautious. However, a daytime drive through this part of town along Portland and then Northwestern Parkway is very interesting and not dangerous at all. Areas around Churchill Downs are also relatively sketchy, but again, simply driving through in the daytime is not a risk.

Crime is virtually nonexistent east of the Highlands. Within the Highlands, crime is still low, but use caution exiting bars on Baxter Avenue if you are alone. This same advice applies to Old Louisville, only more so. Other than this, just use common sense like you would anywhere else.



  • Courier-Journal, [91]. Local daily newspaper.
  • LEO, [92]. The Louisville Eccentric Observer, the local alt-weekly.
  • Velocity, [93]. Weekly, local entertainment guide.
  • The Voice-Tribune, [94]. East end weekly newspaper.



Get out[edit]

There are plenty of places to visit outside Louisville. To the south are Mammoth Cave National Park (longest cave system in the world) [95], Fort Knox (home of the gold bullion and the Patton Museum), the Abbey of Gethsemani [96], the historic town of Bardstown, home of Stephen Foster-The Musical [97], the Bourbon Trail [98], the Lincoln Birthplace [99], the Bernheim Forest Arboretum and Nature Center [100].

To the east is the state capitol at Frankfort, where you'll find some distilleries in the area. Lexington is the home of the Kentucky Horse Park [101]. Located off I-71 is the Kentucky Speedway [102], as of 2011 home to races in all three of NASCAR's national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series) and the IndyCar Series.

To the north is the river town of Madison, Indiana, home of the Madison Regatta. Nashville, Indiana and Brown County are a haven for artists.

To the west, numerous caves are found, including Squire Boone, Wyandotte and Marengo. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari [103] in Santa Claus boasts the Raven, one of the most popular wooden roller coasters in America.

Routes through Louisville
St. LouisNew Albany  W noframe E  Saint MatthewsFrankfort
IndianapolisJeffersonville  N noframe S  ShepherdsvilleBowling Green
CincinnatiLa Grange  N noframe S  END
IndianapolisJeffersonville  N noframe S  Splits into US-31W.png and US-31E.png
Merges onto US-31.png  N noframe S  BardstownGlasgow
Merges onto US-31.png  N noframe S  Fort KnoxBowling Green

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